Training FCV Supervisory Staff

Brian Fry (bio)

The first formal approach to training technical staff was probably when the FCV instituted a Foremen's School during 1928/29.

(Source: FCV Annual Report 1928/29)

Realizing that in the various forest districts there were many capable and intelligent young men, employed on forest work, whose efficiency would be considerably increased by undergoing a selected course of theoretical and practical instruction in forestry, and essential educational subjects, the Commission during the year inaugurated a school of instruction for forest foremen. The course, which lasted three weeks and was held at Creswick Forests School, was attended by twenty-five selected men.

The course consisted of:
(1) A series of lectures on forestry and allied subjects, the curriculum comprising English, arithmetic and mensuration, surveying, botany, forest botany, silviculture, nursery principles, forest management, physiography, fire protection, forest law and office routine. These lectures were conducted by members of the Commission's staff. Mr H. Barkly, Assistant Director of the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau, delivered two evening lectures.
(2) Discussions on various topics relating to forest work introduced by the men.

The course on the whole was very successful, good progress in most cases being made, and many useful ideas, which should materially augment the efficiency of the men, acquired.

The Commission should derive much benefit from the stimulus given to the interest in field work, and it is their intention to repeat these instructional courses periodically.

(Reference for information below: Circumspice – One Hundred Years of Forestry Education Centred on Creswick, Victoria. p 150.)

The FCV continued technical staff training (in a formal way) in 1946, by holding an internally-run Foreman’s School at Kinglake West to lift the skill levels of field supervisory staff; 41 trainees commenced with 28 graduating. Another School at Kinglake West in 1946/47, managed by Thomas W Loughrey, involved 47 ex-servicemen and five people from the Tasmanian Forest Service. Thirty five completed the five month course.

A School in 1947/48 run by Neil Carr was held for 35 trainees – 20 graduating in November that year. 1950 saw a School run by W M Flentje, then in 1962 Max Boucher, Fred Craig and Dennis O’Connor ran a School at Broadford. Another was held at Broadford in 1966 run by Max Boucher, Darren Gribble and Dennis O’Connor. A final internally-run School was managed by Rod Incoll, with John Slater and John Bywater, in 1973 at Moondarra. These courses were all based on curriculum material developed by the FCV, and successful candidates were approved by the Public Service Board for acceptance to the classification of Forest Overseer Grade 1. The participants for these courses were mainly drawn from work crews of the FCV, but in some instances they took people from the outside world.

In 1974, the Victorian School of Forestry became one of a group of campuses involved with a Victorian Government scheme to formalize technical training for a number of Departments. The Certificate of Applied Science (Conservation and Resource Development) became the training course for FCV technical staff. This particular course involved a range of Departments with Crown Land and other land-based resource management responsibilites. This training was overseen by the Education Department. The course was over 12 weeks 3each year for three years, and it was designed to give formal training within a work-based environment. FCV trainees (generally recruited from field-based work crews) were joined by National Park Rangers for these courses.

Subjects for the dual group were:

Administrative Procedures
Behavioural Studies A & B (two units)
Communication and Report Writing A & B (two units)
Supervision 1A
Introduction to Ecology A & B (two units)
Natural Resources and Operations A & B (two units)
Field Engineering A & B (two units)


Specialised units for FCV trainees were:

Field Botany 1A,
Fire Behaviour
Fire Protection
Forest Law
Forest Utilisation
Forest Measuring and Recording
Silviculture A & B (two units)
Road Construction and Maintenance
Forest Safety and First Aid
Forest Management A & B (two units)


Subject material was presented by staff from FCV and other Government departments. As before successful participants were accepted into Public Service Board positions in the FCV.

In 1985/86, the Certificate of Applied Science was elevated to the level of Associate Diploma of Applied Science (ADAS) after some subject material review. This level later morphed into the Associate Degree of Forest Management administered by the University of Melbourne in 2007.